Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SERIAL 13: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

Kondo faces his destiny in the mountains of Taiwan! Enjoy the latest installment of Dr. Paul Barclay's translation of Kondo Katsusaburo's experiences up to and during the 1930 Wushe revolt, which were serialized in the local Taiwan Japanese-language papers in the early 1930s. Kondo married into an aboriginal family and traveled extensively in aboriginal territory. (For introduction to Kondo and his era, see Installments 1 & 2. Links to other installments are on the bottom of the right-hand sidebar). Dr. Barclay is the general editor of the wonderful Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection which I urge everyone interested in Taiwan to visit.


Chapter Twenty: Kondō Joins the Kurata Mission
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō February 1, 1931)

On September 29th, they were feted by the Qijiaochuan Aborigines, whom they had met on the sightseeing journey to Taibei. They danced with the four Wushe (Katsukku village) tribesmen, holding hands, singing and enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, the shipping timetable was not accommodating, so they were forced to stay on in Hualien until October 6th, 1907. At last, they boarded a ship on the seventh and arrived in Jilong on the eighth. Immediately, they went to Taibei to report on their successful crossing to General [Sakuma]. They spent the next whole day in Taibei. The Aborigines, who were attached to Kondō, were welcomed wherever they went. They were given many precious things, which caused them to exult. The five-man group was also invited to our newspaper company to take a memorial picture. There was an article with a picture in the newspaper at the time. They arrived back in Puli on October 14th via Nantou, Taizhong. As he had promised, Kondō gave a water buffalo to each of the four as a reward. With great jubilation, they returned to the village.

Autumn of 1907! Soon the year ended and it was 1908. In January of the new year, the Government-General planned to make a definitive record of the crossing. With Kondō as a guide, a fifteen man troupe headed by Inspector Kaku Kurata and four border guards were sent to Hualien Harbor again. This group also included the famous Mr. Mori (Ushinosuke). Their itinerary looked like this:

January 3rd Left Puli and stayed in Wushe.

4th Stayed at Kattsuku village.

5th Slept outside at Peiroha, between Wanda and Nenggao.

6th Arrived at Nenggao.

7th Slept by a pond called Mumegan in Nenggao.

8th Stayed at Rehegokarari, called Takigase in Japanese.

9th Kondō had taken a left the last time, so that they took a right this time and spent a half-day searching, but no way was found.

Returned to Rehegokarari.

10th Passed through "Needle Mountain" and stayed at the cave.

11th Stayed in Xikou.

12th Arrived at Hualien Harbor subprefecture.

A ship happened to be departing the day after their arrival, on the 13th. The headman of the Qijiaochuan tribe came to the embarkation landing to meet Inspector Kaku. At that time, there was a battle over [censored] involving the Qijiaochuan villagers and some reclaimed land at [censored]. Because conditions among the Aborigines were unsettled, they were making an appeal. They requested better treatment in the future. But the [censored] incident in Hualien Harbor, though it happened just at the end of the previous year, had already been [censored] at the time. In any event, they returned to Taibei on the 14th. Kondō was completely relieved. He had come to Taiwan in the spring of his twenty-second year, driven by curiosity. He entered Puli and engaged in Aborigine related enterprises for some thirteen years. For Kondō's sake, his father sold-off the family's ancestral lands and made the crossing to Taiwan. It was true that Kondō planned to use this money as capital to purchase reclaimed and sold-off land (kaikonchi haraisage) in Taiwan. And yet, the fact that he had not made time to put his household affairs in order, as the eldest son, constantly ate away at him as the years and months passed by. Until now, Kondō thought, he had only been thinking of himself, while forgetting all about his father.

After his successful crossing, Kondō thought about this matter constantly. His last responsibility concerning Captain Fukahori still remained—to build a memorial shrine in Hualien to console the souls of Fukahori and his men, according to the Captain's instructions, but ... this was a life's work, and could not be accomplished quickly. He would wait for the right opportunity. Instead, he thought, with the Fukahori business settled for the time being, perhaps it was time to return to the family occupation and work towards making my father's old age comfortable. Kondō thus turned his attention to different matters.

At this time, Kondō's younger brother Gisaburō had already become a police officer. [Like Katsusaburō,] he understood Aborigine languages. Gisaburō was posted in Puli. Now, Katsusaburō could delegate all of his Aborigine-related matters to his younger brother, dedicating himself to farming, the family vocation and his previous line of work. If Kondō could have continued his life in this manner ... he would have become a big landowner near Puli. He might have enjoyed an old age blessed with wealth. And perhaps Gisaburō would not have tragically disappeared. But Kondō's unfathomable destiny continued to unfold with a matter that called him back into action in Taiwan's savage mountainous territory.

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